On Jan. 28, 2012, a soccer riot erupted at in Port Said, Egypt. The rioting caused the deaths of over 70 people. The Al-Masry fans and other groups were already in heated conditions when the Al-Masry fans attacked the Al Ahi soccer club. Al Ahi is the most successful club in Africa. According to a March 9 New York Times article, a Cairo court has confirmed death sentences for 21 defendants who are mostly Al-Masry fans. Reaction to the sentencing has added to ongoing unrest related to the Morsi regime’s inability to curb police brutality.
Judge Sobhi Abdel-Maguid read the confirmation verdict of "the death penalty by hanging" at the Cairo courthouse. According to a March 9 Reuters article five more people were sentenced to life in prison. Eight defendants will spend 15 years in jail. Six were sentenced to 10-year terms, two will serve five years and one defendant will serve a 12-month sentence. 28 other people were acquitted.
Police officials did not escape responsibility for their actions during the deadly riot. Maj. Gen. Esam Samak was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was Port Said’s former security chief and was the most senior of nine security officials who went to trial. A colonel was also sentenced to 15 years and nine others were acquitted.
Port Said has been in unrest since the death sentences were first decided on Jan. 28, three days after citizens remembered the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak. However, many agree that the death sentence and other sentences will serve as justice for those who were killed in the riots.